Ebola survivors might have eliminated the virus from their blood but it may remain living inside their eyes.
Ebola has been detected for the first time inside the eyes of a man months after he got cured of the virus.
The current case involves an American doctor, Ian Crozier of 43 years old who contracted Ebola in September while working in Sierra Leone with the World Health Organization.
He was a patient at the Ebola special unit of the Emory University Hospital from Atlanta. In October he was released as there were no more signs of the virus in his blood. During the treatment, Crozier lost 13 and a half kilograms and according to medics the virus affected the well functioning of his brain and also his locomotive abilities.
After two months passed by, one of his eyes became very inflated and developed extremely high blood pressure, leading to swelling and sight issues.
Crozier went back to the Emory hospital and was consulted by ophthalmologist doctor Steven Yeh. He got some fluid samples out of his eye and tested it for the Ebola virus. The results showed that the fluid was infected with Ebola, but his tears and tissue surrounding the exterior of his eye were not infected.
This means that contact with people who got cured of Ebola doesn’t represent a threat for public health, but proves that survivors have to be checked for the development of eye problems, explained Yeh. Crozier’s eye has not healed completely, however his vision keeps on improving.
The medical staff who was involved in treating Crozier wore specially designed equipment to protect themselves from being infected and they monitored themselves for symptoms if the virus for weeks after they finished treating Cozier, explained doctor Jay Varkey a specialist in infectious disease at Emory hospital.
Since the outbreak in West Africa from December 2013, Ebola has infected over 26,000 people.There were some survivors who claimed they have been having problems with their eyes after the virus left their body. Recent studies, have shown that the virus can remain active in the semen for more than three months.
The fact has been proved recently, when a woman from Africa died after having sexual intercourse with a man who had survived the disease.
The Ebola virus was first brought to the United States by Thomas Eric Duncan who was killed by the disease in October. Two of the nurses who treated him, got infected but managed to recover.These were recorded to be the sole cases of Ebola infection contracted inside the borders of America.
Image Source: arstechnica